Petition to bring palliative care back to St Clare's building to go to Downing Street with over 13,000 signatures
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Now more than 13,000 South Tyneside residents have signed the petition calling for the return of services to the Primrose Terrace building.
Kay has even suggested that if successful it could be called the “people’s hospice”.
“I was determined to get 10,000 but I thought it would take an almighty push, I never thought we would get this many,” said Kay, whose partner Alan Price was cared for at St Clare’s.
“Everybody in South Tyneside has come together to do this. It’s the people’s petition.”
St Clare’s collapsed into insolvency in January 2019 after more than 30 years, leaving the borough without and end-of-life care facility.
Kay has the support of South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck who is expected to join campaigners in submitting the petition to Downing Street in the coming weeks.
“We do still have a chance,” said Kay.
“When they realise there’s another 13,000 signatures they can’t ignore them.”
South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is unable to consider the petition as it comes less than six months after a petition of 3,000 signatures was submitted.
Health chiefs have now said it's “not as simple” as reopening the former facility and they are working to identify the “best possible site” for end-of-life care in the borough.
Matt Brown, executive director of operations at NHS South Tyneside CCG commented: “We understand the strength of public feeling about the old hospice site and we are committed to providing the best palliative care that we possibly can.
“Since the hospice closed, hundreds of local people have helped us shape a new vision for end-of-life care, with more social care, nursing and palliative care for patients who prefer to die at home, as well as a new hospice.
“Less than 5% of deaths take place in hospices, with many more people preferring to spend their last days at home, or in a care home, so we need the best possible range of services for all our patients, whatever their circumstances.
“We are now working hard to make this vision a reality. We have taken steps to recruit extra nursing and social care support for patients in the community, and we are working to identify the best possible site for hospice care.
“This will need to be a calm and respectful space with a higher quality of medical care than the previous service, which struggled to recruit medical staff and was rated as inadequate by inspectors.
“It’s not as simple as just reopening the previous facility – we would be failing our patients if we rush to open a new service without making sure it’s in the right location to ensure high quality and consistent medical care for the long term.”